I had been doing some puppy walking work for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, and had in my charge a young springer X, called Asta. The bond between my son and this pup was remarkable, and although he was non verbal at that time, being autistic, they seemed to have their own way of communicating.
The time came for Asta to return to the HDfDP centre for assessment. My son knew that Asta was only ‘visiting’, and was accepting of her leaving. Unfortunately I had drummed this too well into my children, and when I took the call to say that Asta had failed her assessment, and would we like her for our family, it didn’t go quite the way I hoped!.
My heart soared, then quickly sank. My son wouldn’t accept her back - because I had done too good a job of explaining she wasn’t ours.
Despite this setback, it got me thinking. I was already doing some canine rehabilitation/retraining work for a local rescue, and puppy walking/training for HDfDP - why not train one to work with my son?
I started researching the various spaniel breeds, many of which I discounted, having already had experience of temperament, biddability, 'energy' etc. Then I came across one I had never heard of before, and it seemed to fit the bill - the FIELD SPANIEL!
I researched, contacted the society, went along to shows, met the breed, talked to owners, researched some more……
Eventually I was satisfied this was THE breed, and set about trying to find a puppy……easier said than done!
After what seemed an age - I was told there might be one available, but the Breeder was on holiday, and I could try contacting her on her return.
My family was lucky enough to welcome that puppy into our lives. ‘Cleo’ (Silksheen Pulsatiila at Thandiwe), was everything I was looking for and more, she will always hold a special place in my family’s hearts.